Mikes Dixie Dancer
2009 Thoroughbred Stallion
20 starts-2 wins-1 second-2 thirds
(Dixieland Band x Sonorous by Unbridled’s Song)
“Mike” came to me via his race trainer. He was not getting paid for training and “Mike” just wasn’t interested in running anymore. I originally went to the track to take photos of him so I could help find him a good home. After a few weeks, I got a call from a friend asking if I wanted “Mike”. I said YES, I’d give him a chance and see what he could do.
His personality when he arrived at our barn was that of an alligator. Nippy is a bit too mild for the biting he was doing every time we went into his stall. Otherwise, he was a joy to have in the barn.
The first month was easy. He learned to enjoy being outside and learned that just being a horse wasn’t too bad. He was also bored but found out how to make friends over the fence with the pasture herd.
After about 4 months, I started working with him in the round pen. Teaching him ground manners was a challenge. He didn’t know much of anything really. I started with basic horsemanship stuff. Moving his feet, moving away from me, and crossing over with both front and hind legs. Another thing he found difficult was cantering. Unbalanced. He couldn’t canter on the correct lead more than 1 stride at a time. Talk about a messed up rear end. His feet were also unbalanced and way too down in the heels. First thing Mike did his first night in the barn was pulled all 4 shoes off. I found all but 1 and still have never found it. LoL
When I did ride him it was at a walk. The first every ride we had was almost a disaster. He threw his head up and tried to run off. After that we did more walking then anything else.
The first year with Mike was challenging. I had to do so much ground work and very little riding. It paid off though.
Another thing we tried in the first few months was a small cross rail and ground pole in the round pen. I lunged him a little then put up the obstacles. He wanted nothing to do with either of them. Wouldn’t even walk over the ground pole on his own. After that, I figured he would never jump and had decided he would most likely be a western horse of some kind.
In the fall I rode Mike again and walked a barrel pattern. He was extremely smart and figured out the pattern quick. When I changed it he picked right up with the new way. After walking and trotting the pattern about 2 times, I deemed him NOT to be a barrel horse. He got speedy quick and we were only trotting and walking.
Winter was wet and cold. Mike had months off with only ground work. It was really good for him though. January I started back working with him. I was curious to see if he still had his speed brain from the first time I ever rode him. Guess what? YEP! It was still there. He settled pretty quick though and all the stuff he had learned during the year were not forgotten.
Flash forward to today. Mike and I are participating this year in the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover. I am also an ambassador for HorseComUSA.
I was lunging Mike one day mid-January and had put up cavaletti. After stacking them a bit each time, I realized that my good horsemanship paid off. Mike can jump.
I still don’t know which discipline we will unltimately ride in, but it doesn’t much matter yet. We do a little bit of dressage, a little bit of western stuff, and a little bit of hunter stuff. Each ride is basically the same stuff but in different tack and I add an obstacle of some sort each ride. I’ve discovered that Mike really likes ground poles and obstacles. I use those as rewards.
We’ve also learned about riding and lunging to music is relaxing and he seems to pay attention better. He’s a stallion after my own heart. He really likes the Jazz Vocalist. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and the many others. I’ve found a great app call Razo Music and they have some good mixes of various stuff.
I can’t wait for my HorseCom equipment to come in.
So, the 2016 year for this amazing stallion has started off great. He has 2 mares booked for breeding. 1 Arabian who is currently due to foal and 1 Thoroughbred mare.
So, wish us luck and keep us in your prayers. This woman and her OTTB stallion are making this year memorable.
I hope everyone can find that one horse that teaches them as much as Mike has taught me. I’ve been riding and showing horses for 30 years now and he has taught me things that I never thought about in the last year. He’s also taught me patience and to trust myself and how to think out side the basic box. Sometimes I just enjoy sitting on him bareback in a rope halter. We just sit and go nowhere. It’s actually enjoyable. I can’t wait to take him to his first show. I just hope he is a perfect gentleman. 🙂
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Mikes Dixie Dancer Facebook Page